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 [Story] Timid Affection

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Jesonomi
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PostSubject: [Story] Timid Affection   Mon Feb 21, 2011 3:23 pm

Timid Affection


Back to back, we burst out from the doors, swinging our bows from side to side, checking for danger. It can be extremely quiet when it wants.

“All clear.” Her voice is calm and smooth, breaking through the winter drafts.

“Yeah. Same here.” We lower our bows but leave them armed. Night is much too dangerous to put away our weapons. Leaves rustle behind us for a moment. But there are no trees at our back.

We spin around and catch the creeper mid-step. It probably jumped down from the roof. It walks toward us, silent as the night. Deadly.

Less deadly perhaps when two arrows sprout from its chest and neck. We are synched, as always. The creeper falls to the ground, giving the sound of leaves being shifted in the wind. It disintegrates, leaving the two arrows in the ground. She strides over and carefully pulls them out. They are food, safety, supplies, and life itself. Holding them out, she signals me to get one. Our fingers brush as I pluck the arrow from her hand. Warmth seeps from her hand to mine. Her fingers are slender and soft but also contain the strength and dexterity to wield either a bow or a sword.

We pass through the night like wraiths, hunting the monsters that were once the hunters. The positions have switched greatly. Spiders die mid-lunge. Skeletons fall before they can get an arrow out of their quivers. Zombies die instantly when arrows pierce their brains. But none of those compare to creepers. Creepers, who are the most silent of all, are killed before they know of our presence. We have surpassed them. Our leather pouches quickly fill with their explosive powder. They are what we came out to hunt. The sun begins to rise and we head back home.

Our house is made from stone, painstakingly put together block by block. A lot of coal was used in the process of refining cobblestone. It was worth it though. It welcomes us back in as we enter the doors. Time to start part two of the plan. TNT.

The plan is to get rid of a certain cavern that we stumbled upon. I can remember the event as if it were yesterday…

I smash the pick into the rock and repeat the process. A tunnel starts to form. We really do need more ores. Maybe I’ll find some gold and surprise Teresa. I start to daydream about her reaction when I hear some running. I turn around to see her enter the tunnel, her hair whipping from side to side behind her. She has a frightened expression and her eyes are full of concern.

“Mark! Quickly! You have to see this!” She whispers with urgency. I take the cue and whisper back.

“What? What happened? What did you see?”

“Just follow me!” Her voice cracks a bit and I start to worry. What could unhinge Teresa like this? She takes off and I follow. When I see it, I probably have the same fear on my face.

Teresa was carving stairs downward so that we could get the rarer ores such as diamond and redstone. I see them open up into a giant cavern. She isn’t a fool so I check it out. The stairs drop into a ledge. The ledge leads to the floor. Monsters litter it. I feel light-headed and I look up to avoid hysteria. The ceiling is made of gravel.

She pulls me back after I see the ceiling. She whispers into my ear to prevent extra noise.

“We have to bring down the ceiling. Normally, I would suggest arrows but…this is of huge proportions. You know how gravel doesn’t always work.” I nod. Sometimes all the gravel doesn’t fall. She whispers into my ear again, her breath warming my neck.

“Arrows are too small. We need something that shakes the entire cavern. An explosive.” And so, the plan was born. Several months have passed since we sealed off the cavern. Today, we open it up.

The TNT is made by both of us at two separate workbenches. We use up all of the powder that we collected. Most of the sand gets used too. We’ve prepared for this day for a long time. Teresa takes apart some of the TNT for dynamite. She finishes and we put the explosives in bags.
We descend the stairs, step by step. The air is musty from the long period of disuse.
The bottom is reached and we see the cobblestone we used. It’s crumbling and moss has somehow found its way into it. My diamond pick makes short work of it. I peek over the ledge. The monsters are still there, fed by some unknown force. I look around for an overhang. I see it but I can’t tell exactly where it is.

I build a small platform to get a better look. The overhand is about five meters away. Around two meters forward, four up. Teresa hands me a rope ladder. It is yet another thing that we prepared for this day. It has some hooks on one end. I use both my hands and throw it in an arc. It slides for a split second but then latches on to something. The ladder swings over to me and I grab it. Pull it to make sure it can support our weight. It doesn’t slide. We climb up and commence the last part of our plan.

The next hours pass by in a flash. We dig paths around the whole cavern, placing TNT at key points near the ceiling. It takes a long time and turns into a chore, dig, dig, dig, place TNT, repeat. We meet back at the ladder. Teresa puts some dynamite together and rigs it to set off the other explosives when it explodes. We retreat as far up the stairs as we can while keeping the dynamite in sight. Teresa pulls out her bow and arms it. The final shot to end all of their lives. She lets the arrow fly. It pierces the outer skin and enters the powder. A spark is made. Then everything goes to hell.

Explosions fill my ears for what seems like minutes. Several time, just when I think that it’s done, more TNT explode. Like the last kennels in popcorn. At last, the explosions end and my ears ring for a bit more. That fades away and then I hear a sound that chills me to the bone. The disturbance of gravel.

I glance at Teresa and see that she hears it too. I get on my belly and twist my neck to find the source of the sound. I see sand. This cavern was right under a beach. And on that beach were monsters. They are helping the others out of the gravel. I get up in a hurry and tug on Teresa’s arm.

“Let’s go!” There is no place for secrecy here. They know our location. They are going to come after us. She bounds up the stairs and I do too. Arrows and groans follow us both.

We make it out of the mines and into our house. It’s night and we have only seconds to make a decision. Stay and protect the house with our lives or lose it forever. Winning isn’t an option. Glancing at each other, we make eye contact. The decision is made. We leave just before they arrive. Windows are broken by the force of the explosion. The roof collapses. Hopefully, that’ll delay them for a bit.

The wind cuts into our cheeks and ears but we press on. Eventually, we run into a mountain face. A thought later and I’m digging into it with my pick. Teresa understands my plan and keeps the monsters at bay with her bow. I make a few steps up and then a tunnel to a small room. I call Teresa and she runs past me. I fill the steps and the tunnel with cobblestone. We hear explosions as creepers try to reach us. They don’t and every single monster makes a sound of anger. I make the room larger so that we have reasonable space to ourselves. The sounds outside slowly become quieter and then become silent.

We sit there in silence and minutes, perhaps even hours pass with us just staring at the walls and torches. Suddenly, Teresa takes a step over and collapses onto me, making a mix of sobbing and choking sounds into my chest, shedding tears for the first time since we met. She hugs me like a pillow. After the initial surprise, I embrace her back. We sit there for what seems to be hours. Me, brushing her hair with my hand over and over. Her, sobbing into my chest and hugging me tightly. We share the grief over our house. It was like another friend. Now it lies dead in ruins from creeper explosions.

Teresa manages to stop crying and looks up at me with red, puffy eyes. Our eyes meet and I see something new in hers. Longing. For human warmth. So I hug her again. Maybe my eyes had the same look because she curls up next to me. A thought occurs to me and a sad smile makes its way onto my face.

“You know…I thought you preferred cool weather over warm weather.” She looks up at me and her face wears a sad smile as well.

“And I thought that you loved me.” She leans in and kisses me on the lips. It lasts only a second but gives me a tingling feeling. Like shivering…but being warm.

“I do love you.” I whisper it into her ear. She sighs happily and rests her head on my shoulder. Her blouse is wrinkled and I straighten it.

We were partners when we first met. Eventually, we began to trust each other with our lives and became friends. Now, we are lovers. We are both a bit shy, yes, but are still lovers. Gently, I take her arms off of me. Teresa looks up suddenly with an expression of confusion and fear on her face. Fear of my rejection. Fear that this is just a dream. I reassure her by planting a kiss on her forehead.

“Don’t worry. We’re going to see the sunrise together.” I bring out my tools and start making stairs upward, further into the mountain. I break through the top within a few minutes. No monsters are in sight. I call Teresa to climb the stairs so that she can see the top.

She appears and we exchange another kiss. It’s passionate and starts a warm stirring in my chest. Longing for another kiss appears. And so the kiss continues with us both embracing the other. I give her a goofy smile and lead her to the perfect spot. We hold hands as the sun rises, brightening up the world with its light, signaling a new day. Whatever comes our way, we will overcome it together. Closer than ever.

End

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PostSubject: Journey Through The Abyss   Mon Feb 21, 2011 3:23 pm

Journey Through The Abyss

(A sequel to Timid Affection)


“No silly, you’re supposed to kiss me.” Teresa’s tone makes it clear that she’s just teasing me but I feel a bit hurt. After all, while we are both shy, she always takes the initiative. And I’m the guy. Do we know about romance? If we do, I must be an outcast. I’m the most unromantic person ever.

“Oh…Is it too late now?” My ears are hot which means that my cheeks are probably scarlet. She grins at my awkwardness.

“Really Mark, you are hopeless. It’s never too late to make up a kiss.” She pulls me in but just gives me a peck. I raise an eyebrow in question. She answers with a taunt in her voice.

“Of course, it does kill the moment.” Well that sucks. I make a sound of sadness in my throat as she walks away. She hears it, comes back, takes my head in her hands and gives me a lesson in French kissing. She pulls away with a smile.

“Then again, I suppose that you’ll make it up some other time. Now let’s go. We’re wasting the night.” Teresa says it as if it’s a big deal but I seem to recall hundreds of hours that we spent just sitting together. I decide not to bring it up and follow her.

It’s been a long time since that fateful night when we found our love for each other. We left after the sunrise and wandered off, away from the ruins of our house. Where is our home? For us, that is where the other is. We try not to be away from each other for the most part but my shyness really makes it impossible at times.

We can feed each other, we can watch over each other, and we can take care of each other but we have never bathed or clothed each other. I feel guilty because I know that we miss out on many moments from my shyness. I try to take the initiative sometimes but never pull through. The bond with Teresa stays the same. We sit together, we embrace, and we kiss.

Part of me wants to have a sturdy object in our relationship. Declarations of love will only get so far. That part is also somewhat looking out for the other part of me. The part that’s afraid. What if she leaves me for a better person? I refuse to give it a thought but it nags at me even as I walk behind her.

We walk aimlessly through the fog, only caring that the other is there. Grass is disturbed and a large number of men step out to surround us. Rogues. One steps out from the circle. He has a pointed nose and his face looks like it always wears a smirk. An ugly one.

“Give us the girl and all you have. We might let you live. Make your decision, kid.” He laughs and I’m reminded of a hyena. What they don’t know is that Teresa is everything I have. Everything else is nothing in comparison. I feel Teresa’s body tense against mine. I smell the scented soap that she uses wafting from her hair. There is no way that I could agree to this deal. Ever. So I put my hands in front of me as a sign of surrender.

“Alright, alright, you win, don’t kill me.” Pointed Nose steps forward, rubbing his hands together like a child obtaining a present. My arrow finds its way into his chest. I get another arrow armed in the time it takes the rest of them to register his death.

“KILL HIM!” They scream in fury and someone else falls by my shot. They swarm us and I draw a sword. Teresa does the same. They are held in front of us, ready to take whatever role is needed. The metal glows in the moonlight and the rogues descend upon us.

Block. Counter. Disarm. Strike.

The only thing I think of besides those four things is Teresa’s safety. I do not worry for myself. I put my life in her hands. Worry lies on her life, which she has entrusted me with. The rogues retreat. Half of their original group lies on the floor, either dead or on the way there. They bring out bows and we do too. Two versus fifteen. A fair battle. Someone fires the first arrow and then the air is filled with them. We dance across the battlefield, dodging them all, deflecting some, and returning the favor. After a minute, only four remain. They take the hint and run off. A perfect time. Both of us had just run out of arrows. Teresa starts to pick some up and I follow her example. I collect around ten and am putting them into my quiver when a creeper falls from above, landing right in front of me. A brief thought passes through my mind.

Damn. Must’ve waited on a tree.

Then I’m shoved away to see Teresa trying to kick the creeper away. It explodes and I’m knocked off of my feet from the shockwave. I scramble up with my ears ringing. Teresa? Where is she?

I see her and my blood runs cold. She’s being supported by the tree. Her head is down and I can see her arm struggling to keep her torso up. I run over and see the blood. The explosion blew her right lower leg to bits. Kneeling next to her, I stumble over words in my fear.

“Wh- wh-wh…Why? Why did you save me? You aren’t doing me any favors by dying…I can’t go on without you…” Tears start running down my face. She answers and her face grows paler by the second.

“Use your brain, Mark… Maybe I did it…for myself. Did you consider that? You’re not the only one who fears…what it would be like without the other.” She starts crying too. I wish our roles were reversed. That I was the one dying. That I was the one who took the pain. But I’m not. I have to stay strong for her.

“You…selfish girl. I hate you.” We both know that’s a lie but I need something to support me. I take her hand and she grabs back tightly. She looks me in the eye and speaks.

“Meet me back…at spawn. I’ll…fix up the house.” The pauses are becoming longer and more frequent. There isn’t much time left. I lean in to kiss her and I imagine it giving her life. But it doesn’t. It only gives her something to hold upon before she dies. Her lips are cold but I press on, refusing to let her die alone. I break the kiss to tell her my love.

“Alright. I’ll find my way back. My home is with you. Always.” My voice cracks in the middle and tears are replenished. A tear drops and falls on one of hers. The momentum makes it fall and splatter on the ground. Her hand releases its grip. My tears continue as I get her things and put them next to mine. The increased weight on my belt makes the situation feel final. We always shared the weight. Now all of it is on me. I can only see after I’ve put a hill between me and the body. A world without Teresa. This is hell.

Part 1: End


My body screams for rest but I continue running. No stops. Ever second that I am separated from her causes the hole in my heart to grow. I’m not really aware of anything but my goal. I have a brief recollection of killing monsters that get in my way. Agony replaces my blood and my heart beats it through my body. Still, the hole grows. It can only be fixed by Teresa. Details fill my head as I run. Her silver earrings. The mole on the back of her left shoulder. Her brown hair. The pressure of her lips on mine. Her soft hands. The warmth of her breath. Her love.

The landscape starts to grow familiar. Then I see the stairs we carved together. The events that lead up to it flow back to me. The room. The crying. Our friendship turning into something more. The sun warming our joined hands. I slow my pace slightly to get my pick and shovel. I can’t spare any time to make a detour. A tunnel starts to take shape. My arms take the major role and my legs get a bit of rest. As I dig further into the mountain, my lungs join the protest with my arms. They need to slow down. They need to get rid of the mass amount of carbon dioxide I’ve made. I can’t slow down though. I take just enough time to get the oxygen I need to be conscious and then exhale. Repeat. Then I forget about that when I break into the room.

The cobblestone screams at me to break it and hurry but the memories overwhelm me. That’s where I sat. That’s where she sat. We kissed over there. We hugged over there. I left her there to carve the stairs. The memories translate to meaningless, repetitive sentences. Just as my body starts to get rest, I move to break the cobblestone. I lift my pick but it doesn’t come back down. Instead, my arms freeze as I see something in the corner of my eye. Something that wasn’t there before I carved the stairs to the top. I drop the pick and walk over to it, almost hypnotized. It’s an engraving in the wall.

I finally get in front of it. It’s a heart. While I was carving steps, Teresa was carving her love. In the heart reads: Teresa & Mark. Hearts surround both names with emphasis on my name. Underneath the heart are scribbles. I read them and see my selfishness.

“He’s accepted my love. His arms steady me when my soul is stolen by his lips. He doesn’t press for anything in return. I think that I may have always loved him in the back of my mind. Life isn’t right if I can’t be with him.”

Her heart clearly aches more than mine. How could I be selfish enough to think only of my love for her? Shame washes through my face and I trace the carving with my finger. Maybe I understand love more than I admit to myself.

I pluck the pickaxe from the floor with a new source of energy. The grief has been replaced by something new. I don’t know what it is. I just know that I have to save Teresa. The cobblestone is mined through in a flash and the night air rushes in. I leap to the side to avoid the craters and start sprinting. I’ll go to the house first. If she isn’t there, I’ll check spawn. If she isn’t at either place, my life will end.
The torches stand out in the darkness. There is still rubble remaining from the creepers but the house’s bare skeleton has been restored with cobblestone. It’s a sad sight. Like someone who escapes Death’s grasp but is struck down with another fatal disease. I approach the house and hope rises and fills the hole in my heart until I can find her. Then my gut tells me something is wrong.

I slow down for my hunter instincts to take control. I dart from tree to tree, trying to avoid sight from anyone that could be in the house. The doors are thrown open and I see crushed grass in from of them. Signs of a struggle. I peek inside and the cover of hope on my heart breaks.

A blanket is thrown to the floor, there are scrape marks on the wall, and I see a wet footprint in the back. She has taken a bath and then something happened. A struggle…with what? I inspect the room, looking for something that could clue me in. The pillow. It’s…perfect. The blanket is thrown away but the pillow remains? Impossible. I pick it up. Instead of finding something inside, like I expected, I see a note that was hidden under it. Grief starts to take hold again.

If you see this Mark, I’ve been kidnapped. The men just came from the east and demanded for me to come out. I don’t have anything to defend myself with. They are trying to break down the doors now. If we never see each other again…I love you with my soul and heart.

The words are completely different from her usual writing. They have been scribbled, perhaps in a few seconds. Only on the last sentence does her writing become still. I refuse her love though. I will find her. East. That’s a wide berth and I pace the room. Heat emanates from a furnace and I look inside. Ashes. The heat given off isn’t much so I put my hand on them to get a better reading. Part of it has already gone cold. I missed them by at most, an hour.

“DAMN!”

I yank the furnace out of its place and heave it at the ground. It cracks and spills its contents. Something shines out of the ashes. Gold. Teresa was preparing something. For us. I kick the wall in frustration. The bond between is can’t hold all of this. I have to confess everything to Teresa. The part of me that fears has started to mature. Nothing will scare me anymore. Nobody will keep us apart.

I stride out inspect the grass. Nothing leads from there so I take out my bow and start east. A zombie walks out from the tree line and I shoot him before continuing. The sun starts to rise and I spot the tracks. Three sets…but the one in the middle is sunken into the dirt. He was carrying Teresa. I track the prints through the whole day, sometimes panicking when they cross a river or something that blocks their footprints. Where are they going? I see their destination at sunset.

The tower is a beacon of light, giving off its own and reflecting the sunlight shining from my back. It stands on a large hill that has its head cut off, perfect for fending off attacks. Torches are stuck into the top of the hill, making a ring of light. As the tower ascends, torches are fewer and the light comes from these strange yellow blocks. The absolute top casts both of them off and surrounds a ball of fire with glass. I suppose it’s normally intimidating but I just wonder what kind of retard does that when a fourth of the building is made of wood.

My heart screams out in pain and love for me to burst in and find Teresa but my sanity has just enough power to push it down. I know brain. I want to, but I can’t. I need every advantage I can get. I retreat and dig a small hole that I wait in until the sun sets completely. Night is when monsters come out. This time, I’ll be one of them.

Part 2: End


I consider the lift before dismissing it as too risky. Stairs get carved instead. I try my best to make it look natural but I don’t have any stone. I compensate by making giant patches of dirt. Slowly, I make it to the top and peek over. Windows. A bit of dirt is agitated when I pull my head back down. I peek again, even slower this time, just in case somebody is looking in this direction. Nobody is looking through the windows and I run over to the front on my toes. I lean against the wall next to the doors and listen.

“Damn, that girl was hot!” One voice.

“I know, wish that mission was a hump and dump.” Two voices. Some chuckling.

“If it wasn’t for Infadist’s orders, I would have made emphasis on hump right there!” Three voices. I wait for another but only get laughter. Alright then. Three people. A good time to try a technique I’ve been thinking of. I take five arrows from my quiver and slide one between my index and middle fingers. Nock that one into my bow. I wait for them to be distracted by talk. On the second syllable, I step out and kick open the door.

The three are sitting around a table. The one closest to the door dies before his face can register surprise. Four arrows. The second tries to draw his sword. It only gets half-way out of its sheath before I stick an arrow into his head. Three arrows. The third gets something to his mouth for half a second and I assume the worst after shooting him. That he signaled the entire tower. It turns out that the next worst thing happens. The thing clatters to the floor and beasts bound out from behind the stairs.

They are mutations. A mix of wolves, hounds, and the physical embodiment of fierceness. The two arrows that I hold in my hand are used almost immediately when lunge at me. I bring out my iron sword and it gleams with an unnerving calmness. Another mutation tries to pounce onto me but I swing the sword up into a smooth arc and slice into its stomach. It crashes into the floor behind me with a whine and begins to die. The others learn fast and decide to change tactics. They surround me in just a few seconds and I decide to change my tactics too. By bringing out another sword. I growl at them.

“Bring it on.” A few take steps back in surprise but the rest decide to comply.
I counter swipes from their two inch claws, rolls away from pounces, slice at them when they are open, and simply go crazy with the swords. They are annihilated and I look down at myself. My shirt is literally dripping with blood. I mumble to myself.

“I probably look like crap.”
There are probably at least five more floors and I don’t want to waste more time than needed so I drag the second person I shot behind the stairs. Some minutes later, I walk out with his armor over my clothes. The leather scrapes at me and brings the temperature up a few degrees. I bear it and proceed up the stairs.

The next floor is brimming with soldiers and I’m thankful for my decision. One grabs me by the shoulders before I notice him. His breath smells of whiskey.

“If yah don’t keeep those animels quiet, I’ll keel them mahself.” His words slur from the alcohol and I reply, trying to imitate one of the voices I heard.

“They won’t be a problem anymore.” The soldier smirks.

“Damn right they won’t.” He staggers back to his table and his friends laugh. I turn away and start to climb up the stairs when a soldier yells at me.

“What do ya think you’re doing? Scum.” I answer gruffly.

“Reporting the intruder to Infadist. I’ll need compensation for my partners’ and the wolf-hounds’ deaths.” They’ve all grown silent and eye me suspiciously.

“I doubt that he will pay for dirt. Besides, he’s with the girl you brought. Who knows what he’s doing?” The works sink in and I respond before continuing up.

“That’s a shame.” They mutter among each other I hear one of them say something that makes me question who Infadist is.

“We’ll never see him again.” I break into a sprint. Third floor. Fourth. Fifth. Sixth. Seventh. I pass people but the questions don’t chase after me. On the eighth floor, I run into a double door. A picture of a town burning is split onto each door. I hear talking on the other side followed by the sound skin slapping skin. Two images form in my mind and I really hope that one of them isn’t true. The slapping better be done by a hand or someone will find a painful death from me. I start picking the lock and unlock the doors in seven seconds. I take out my bow and ready an arrow.

One. Two. Three. I kick the door open and shoot at the man inside. The arrow bursts into flames and ashes fall at his feet. He turns to me and I see him clearly. He’s pudgy and I would have laughed under different circumstances. What really hits me are his eyes. They aren’t there. Balls of fire have replaced them.

Part 3: End


“You dare attack me? What a foolish idea.” He stands by Teresa and I see that rope ties her into a sitting position while binding her to the bed. Her clothes have been changed greatly. Forced probably. She wears an open, light pink robe with black lingerie under. The gag muffles her surprise and her cheek is red. Then I see the other thing that she’s wearing.

Bruises.

I shouldn’t have waited. I let her take pain because I wanted to avoid it. I should have burst in as soon as I found this tower. I lunge at Infadist, putting my elbow in front of me, hoping to knock him in the chest. He grabs my arm in midair and swings me into the ceiling. Painfully. Teresa tries to shout as I fall down. I can hear the glass-encased fire burning. I imagine Infadist sitting next to it, stroking it with his bare hands. He laughs and I’m shaken back to reality. Something followed me back though. A timer. It starts ticking down in my mind. When the time runs out, someone will be dead. I get up and regard him with newfound coldness.

“You have fire for your eyes? Well guess what? I’m the ice that puts you out.” Everything in a three feet radius drops by thirty four degrees Fahrenheit. My breath is visible, fading as it moves past the border of my chill. I lunge at him with a sword that just appeared in my hand. I can only describe it as ice. I blank out for the rest of the fight.

A window breaks and the night winds blow against my face. They are warm compared to my coldness. Then I push off of something and just make it back inside.

Thump.

Looks like I pushed off of Infadist. The timer switches off and the air around me sucks the heat away from the surroundings so that it’s the same as the room’s temperature. The ice sword is gone so I take out my iron sword, now dull from use, and cut through Teresa’s bonds. She rubs her wrists and looks up to me.

“H-how? What was that?”

“I don’t know…And uh…I uh…saw your carvings in the mountain. I suppose I’ve been selfish too. I lean in to kiss her but she pushes me away. My face fills with confusion and fright.

“Not like this. I want to be myself.” She gestures to the clothes. I nod, detach her pouch from my belt, and give it to her. She rummages through it for a bit before pulling out a full set of clothes. Her eyebrows rise when she sees me looking.

“Sorry, instead of getting to ogle me, you have the guard the door.” A grin is trying to keep hidden behind her scowl. I compensate by sitting next to her with my bow pointed toward the entrance. Teresa laughs and pushes me over before throwing the robe onto my head. I decide to let her be. I saw her wince when she pushed me. I hear her quickly replacing her clothes. Unlatch, latch, material sliding across skin and buttoning.

“Really Mark? You left it on your head? You look silly!” She pulls the robe off of my head and I see her beauty. Her green blouse has every other button used and her black pants are winkled. I slide my hand across them and she giggles. Every second that we stay together patches up the abyss in our hearts. I start to hug her but then noticed that I’m still wearing the armor. I take it off and see that the blood is dried. Teresa raises an eyebrow at it and I tease her.

“Looks like you’ll have to spend a lot of time later to wash me.” She gasps happily and returns the smile. My brain probably melts.

After a few minutes of joking around, we ready our bows. The two of us make the best team. We clear floor after floor, raiding chests, starting fires, killing people and simply being happy with the other’s presence. Eventually, the tower does collapse. We were long gone by then. Even though day has come, Teresa insists for us to keep moving. It’s relatively quiet when the word spill out of my mouth.

“Teresa…” She stops and turns around with an expression of curiosity on her face. I can’t let these words stop.

“I love you. And…and I don’t think life will be truly real if you aren’t with me. Teresa…will you marry me?” I hold out the gold ingots that she smelted and continue talking to the ground, making excuses just in case of a refusal.

“I mean, I could make the rings even if you want to wait a b-.” She runs up to me we crash. My foot catches on a rock and we fall together, exchanging a kiss full of intensity. Teresa gets up and gives me a hand before brushing me off. I do the same for her. She smiles and her teeth sparkle in the sunlight.

“Of course I’ll marry you Mark. Let’s go.” We walk off wrapped around each other and find the mountain where our love first emerged. I think that we will stay. It’ll make the perfect place for us to live. Life couldn’t be any better.

=================================================================================================

Epilogue


I wake to Teresa’s lips on mine. She hold my face and I do the same. Our diamond rings glint in the sunlight shining in from the sunroof. They are truly a sign of our luck. Of finding each other.

“Mark, guess what I found!” Her voice fills my ears like a song. Everything about her is beautiful. I’m still lost in her gaze when I answer.

“I don’t know.” She steps back, pulls a red flower from her pouch and hands it to me. I accept it, being careful to avoid to thorns.

“It’s a rose! One of the many symbols of love. I found a whole bush on top of the mountain.” I ponder on what she said for a second before speaking.

“It symbolizes love because it’s just like it. You battle your way up the thorns in love and it blooms into something magnificent in the end.” Teresa’s smile grows.

“You are such a romantic guy.” She pulls me out of the bed and we start another day. Hand in hand. Together. In bloom.

End


Last edited by Jesonomi on Mon Feb 21, 2011 3:25 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Paradise's Charmer   Mon Feb 21, 2011 3:23 pm

Warning: This story does contain sexual references so if you feel uncomfortable reading such things, just don't read it. I am not responsible to anything that happens as a result of disregarding this warning.


Paradise’s Charmer

CRASH!

We both wake with a start. The moon and torches light our actions. Teresa grabs a bow and quiver from the wall and I roll off the bed and retrieve an iron sword from under it. Our footsteps are silent as we search every room. Nothing.

I get Teresa’s attention before jerking my head toward the path that we took to signal that I’m going to check again. She nods and follows me.

Crunch.

I wince from the noise, always wanting to be quiet. Underneath my boot…is glass. On closer inspection, I see water droplets on the glass. A bit slowly, I realize what happened. The vase that held the rose fell and broke, perhaps from a minor earthquake, or a creeper explosion somewhere. We search around but the flower is nowhere to be found. I’m devastated. That rose was one of the things that happened along with our marriage. We clean up the glass and water before retiring back to bed. When Teresa speaks, her voice has a tint of sadness.

“I guess that we can get another rose from the bush. For the vase, we can make another one.” Seems like the rose meant a lot for both of us. I wrap my arms around her and she does the same for me. In a few minutes, she falls asleep and starts breathing in that cute way of hers, inhaling through her nose, exhaling with a joyful sigh through her mouth. My thoughts wander over to the rose and its disappearance. It’s strange. There is really no way that it could just vanish. Aside from sentimental value, it’s just a flower…so why do I have a strange feeling about this? My mind is still uneasy when I fall asleep.

Part 1: End

My conscious is jerked awake and I just manage to grasp onto wisps of my nightmare. A demon laughing while whipping its tail back and forth, tears splashing onto a sword, and something really strange. Blood trickling from a small puncture point on my ring finger. The diamond is drenched in blood.

I cast the images to the back of my mind, blaming the grief over the rose. It must have shaken me more than I thought. Teresa remains sleeping, unaware of my disturbance. Her arms are still wrapped around me. I take a pillow slowly slide out, replacing myself with it. She clamps on to the pillow and I go prepare breakfast for the two of us.

Coal will be too much of a waste for a few pork chops so I just throw four planks into a small hole. The embers light them up and a fire starts. The three pieces of meat slowly brown and I flip them over for equal cooking every few minutes. Eventually, they finish cooking so I plop two on one plate, and one on another plate. Then I get a loaf of bread and slice it into one half and two fourths. Put the half piece back inside the airtight container. Put a fourth on each plate.

I tiptoe over to the bedroom and pull back the blanket. Teresa starts to rouse from the cold air and I lift her straight out of the bed. By the time I get to the table and put her into a chair, her face is wearing a sleepy smile. I pull my chair up next to her and slide the plate with more meat in front of her. She’s curious about the quantity I chose since I usually give us both the same amount.

“You’re eating less that usual.” I shrug before responding.

“Don’t feel that hungry today.” We finish our meal rather quickly and move onto the next thing. Bathing. I wear swim shorts and Teresa wears her bikini so we don’t do the exact opposite of what we’re supposed to be doing, which is cleaning. Still, there is a lot of dawdling. Stubble has just begun to grow on my chin and Teresa rubs her nose against it, water droplets trickling down her hair. I nuzzle her back and we laugh. Most of our goofing around goes to tickling disguised as cleaning the other. Laughter echoes around the rooms.

Finally, we get out, dry ourselves and dress. That takes forever. Of course, there’s no rush. I get Teresa’s blouse over her shoulders, and start the process with quite a bit of giggling involved. There’s the left sleeve, the right, then slowly, the first button, the second, the third, the fourth and so on until the eighth. We decide to dress ourselves after that. Eventually, we start the day.

Our supply of lumber is running low so we decide to make that the first thing to do. We head out with a few stone axes and get to work. After we got a few stacks of logs, both of us walked around planting saplings so that more trees can grow. Just when we start back, someone screams out of the forest. I make eye contact with Teresa for a split second and we sprint toward the location. The logs block my hand so I have to slow down to find my sword. I get it out and quickly catch up with her. She’s already shooting arrows so I run in to assess the situation.

A teenage girl, perhaps a few years younger than me, has a boy propped on her shoulder. He might be the same age as me. I catch a glimpse of bandages everywhere before jumping behind them to kick a zombie away. The next minutes are filled with bodies falling from both arrows and my sword. The two finally hit sunlight and I retreat while keeping the monsters at bay. When they are a fair distance in the sun, I run over and bring out my bow. Creepers try to give chase but I don’t let them get five meters past the tree line. Teresa goes to help support the boy.

No more distractions and I finally get a good look at the two. The girl has black hair, brown eyes, wears a black jacket with jeans. The boy, he’s been through too much. His entire face, minus the eyes, is covered in bandages. Blood has soaked some parts and I shudder when thinking of what might have happened. Some unraveled bandages are peeking out from under his shirt. An arrow is stuck in his left lower leg. Even now, blood is still flowing. We’ll need to address it soon. Still, he tries to help Teresa and the girl by using his right leg. It’s like some sort of weird three leg game. All of us make it to the mountain and we get him to the sofa in the living room.

Teresa goes to get medical supplies and I analyze the boy’s wounds. The girl sits quietly on a nearby chair. I spare a glance at her to see if she’s okay and catch her looking at me. Me? Why not this boy? I have a suspicion that there is a relationship between the two. Anyway, back to the boy. The arrow isn’t a clean shot and only made it half way into his leg. Problematic. It seems to be the only major wound as of now. Teresa returns with supplies. I apply some anesthetic before slowly working the arrow out. To avoid pain and extra damage. Then some ointment to keep infection away before bandaging it all. Now that the boy’s problem is done, we need information.

“So…miss…What’s your name? How did you get to this part of the forest?” She answers in a surprisingly strong voice.

“My name is Rachel. The guy over there is Joseph. We were just trying to get food and followed a pig into the forest. It was too confusing and we got lost.”

“Yeah, the forest is pretty dangerous if you aren’t prepared. My name is Mark and she is Teresa. We married a bit ago. Anyway, I guess that you’ll want to stay with Joseph so we’ll go gather some more food.”

“Alright.” Her voice doesn’t really seem to have emotion. I’m trying to gauge her reaction when Teresa pulls me over to a separate room.

“I have a bad feeling. Stay here and keep watch. I’ll get the food.” I nod and she walks away with her bow out. Rachel should probably be informed so I walk over to her.

“Teresa is out getting food so if you need anything, I’ll be over there.” I gesture down the hallway to the bedroom before walking there myself.

The silence is unnerving. Usually, with Teresa, there is a sort of comfort that someone else is there. But now, I feel like there’s nobody around for miles. I sit on the edge of the bed and stare at the wall to pass the time. My thoughts wander to Joseph. What could have happened to make his face bleed like that? The possibilities draw me in and I jump when the door opens. It’s Rachel. I sigh in relief and start to ask what she wants.

“Yes? You need some-” She shoves her lips onto mine. After the surprise registers, I try to break away. It’s a useless effort and she licks her lips. They are drawn to mine. Suddenly, without thought, I kiss her back. Rachel’s tongue ventures into my mouth and my tongue licks it in welcome. My mind isn’t melting. There is no stirring in my chest. It’s a new sensation. Lust.

Thankfully, the trance breaks when she puts a hand on my crotch. My mind is too shy to go there and I break away, only now realizing my actions. I scoot back further onto the bed but Rachel just crawls after me, making an effort to show every curve of her body. She starts the hunt for my lips again. My pushes are weak, scared of hurting her. They also show weakness. I can only manage to get out a few words between all the kissing.

“No…this…wrong…married…Teresa…you…Joseph…no…stop.” She gets annoyed by my protests and decides to address the things that I managed to murmur.

“Joseph?” She gives a cruel laugh before talking again.
“He is a stupid fool who can’t even take care of himself. Even now, he sleeps on in ignorance. As for your Teresa, she won’t be much harder than Joseph. Knock her up and we’ll leave. Preggy can’t chase after us at that time. Now…just lay back and let me do everything. I’m hungry for experience. I NEED to devour life. Just relax and I’ll handle the rest.” She starts undoing my zipper.

“Wait, no, Rachel, think thi-” She shushes me.

“All you have to do is stop resisting. I’ll give you the time of your life. Oh, and don’t call me Rachel. I’m sure Rae will be much easier when you’re inside me.” She continues to pull down my pants. A purring sound emanates from her at the sight of the bulge in my boxers.

“It’ll be just fine.” I want to push her away and scream but my body won’t respond. It’s overwhelmed with the possibility of its “first time” and all the hormones. Even my mind can’t keep up with this sudden change from the calming love of Teresa. All I can do is watch. Sounds of rustling in the kitchen fall onto my ears but nothing registers. Just this girl in front of me. But then Teresa walks in with a concerned expression.

“Mark, where is-” She stops mid-step when her eyes fall on Rachel and me. The expression of concern immediately shifts into something wild. Something between anger and absolute sadness.

“I HATE YOU!” She runs off, leaving a trail of tears behind her. Rachel speaks after a moment.

“Well. Didn’t even have to impregnate her. That was easy.” I try to get up but she pushes me back down and starts taking off her blouse.

“Don’t worry, I won’t ditch you like that.” Her voice is full of disgust and it makes me angry. I rudely push her aside while the blouse covers her face. She shrieks but I no longer care about her safety. I quickly pull up my pants and tug on the zipper while trying to catch up to Teresa.

“Wait, Teresa! Please! I can explain!” It’s worth a shot but it doesn’t work. Like every other time someone says they can explain. She gets to the top of a hill and turns around right as I reach the bottom of it. An arrow is aimed straight at my heart. I raise my hands in surrender and she calls down in a shaken voice.

“Don’t take another step. I don’t want to shoot you but I will if you force it…I thought we had something. But it was just a lie. You leaped onto the first girl that you came across. You disgust me.” I respond with a pleading tone.

“Please, Teresa, she came onto me. She wanted me to impregnate you so we could run off. I tried to stop it all but she wouldn’t stop…You know I wouldn’t do something like this. I’m too shy. You know I wouldn’t do this to you.” She accuses me again, her voice cracking every other word.

“You tried to stop her!? What was going on when I stepped in then?! What was going on!?” Tear start to sprout from my eyes as I respond.

“I…I was overwhelmed. We’ve always taken it slowly but she just went to everything at once. It was so different and…I don’t know how to explain it. Please listen Teresa…Please.” I take a step forward, hoping to make a connection. Instead, she lets the arrow fly into my right thigh before disappearing behind the hill. My right leg instantly gives out and I fall on that knee. Pain shoots through every single atom of my body and I’m temporarily blinded. As soon as a bit of vision returns, I craft a makeshift crutch from left over sticks in my pouch and just make it to the top of the hill to see Teresa fade into the trees. Instantly, my body just collapses. The arrow is pushed further out the other side of my leg but I don’t care. Why should I care without Teresa? My vision starts to darken from the pain and something glints in the grass. I pluck it out. It’s her ring. I just manage to put it on a necklace before everything fades to black.

Part 2: End

A bird chirps in the distance and I slowly get up from my bed. The cobblestone walls only remind me of my existence. It seems to have been made to simply grieve. I take the ring from inside my shirt and put it next to the one on my finger. They no longer gleam with joy.

It’s been…time since the day we saved those two people. It’s been time since we broke apart. It’s been time since I found that life was not truly real. Why should I count the days when life does not belong to me? There is no reason. Life is no longer a physical entity nor is it something that really exists for me. I have become a sort of…wraith.

My feet take me outside and I observe the surroundings yet again. How many times? I don’t count this either. A creeper appears from the shadows with the sound of leaves rustling. It doesn’t care for stealth here. I raise my hand and stop it.

“No.” Something about me makes it stop dead in its tracks. Perhaps it understand my lack of care. It makes me vulnerable but also lets me kill anything that will get in my way. With no hesitation. It walks back into the darkness, probably seeking another victim. I still ponder why nothing has attacked me since that day. I walked not away, nor forward to Teresa, I simply walked to the left. This puts a sort of test up. She won’t find me by accident. No. It’ll be on purpose.

Some herbs fall into my line of sight and I pick them up, taking a nibble or so while walking back. When I do get there, I throw them into a bucket of water light the wood underneath it. It’ll take a while, but I have time. All the time in the world. I turn around to stare at the door when I’m lifted up and shoved into the wall by a hooded figure.

“WHY!?” I recognize the voice immediately. It’s the only person who could affect me now. Teresa. Who else?

“WHY DID YOU LEAVE!?” She shakes me again and the fabric of my shirt starts straining to keep together. Her voice has no compassion. No love. Just anger. I answer in a cold but sad voice, like reciting orders.

“You hate me. I told you when proposing that life wouldn’t be real without you. This is the closest I can get to being non-existent.” Nothing but the truth. She shakes me a third time and her hood slides off. Her gentle yellow eyes have changed greatly.

A sort of wildness resides in the place I used to lose myself in. Eyes are the windows into souls. There is a cover of anger but I see past that. A bit of sadness tries to push itself out, demanding to be let free. With a smooth motion, I bring up my hand, unlatch the necklace and hold it out to Teresa. She slowly puts me down but keeps her hands on my shoulders while staring at the ring. Is she recalling the day when she cast it away in fury? In sadness? I don’t know. She takes her hands off of me, pulling them back toward herself, perhaps wanting to take it back?

SMACK!

The ring and necklace go flying and land next to the bucket of herbs. She runs away crying. I slowly walk over to the ring, detached from reality once again. Heat has already run into them but I just pick them up. Burns mean nothing when one does not have a life. I latch the necklace again and put it around my neck. That’s when the scream reaches my ears. Her scream. Teresa. The door smashes into the wall as I run through it.

I can sense it. The movements. The strings being drawn. The arrows being released.

I burst through the circle and jump in front of Teresa. The first arrow impales itself into my right arm. The second sticks into my left shoulder. The last one just barely scrapes my waist, taking a chunk of my shirt with it but deflecting away from Teresa. The monsters immediately stop advancing. They know that nothing will stop me. I address them.

“Leave. Now.” They shuffle away and I’m left alone with her. I start to leave too with the arrows still sticking out of me when she speaks.

“Y-y-you are going to leave me again?” The tone is disbelief combined with sadness to make a wail. I decide to put the decision in her hands.

“It depends on you. Do you want me to stay? Or do you want to disappear forever?” Sadness has crept into my voice and even with my back to her, I can tell that she’s still crying a bit. She chokes out an answer.

“Stay…With me.” My heart jumps but immediately crashes down by some thoughts. What if she doesn’t love me anymore? What if I’m just a friend? She speaks up, perhaps understanding my hesitation.

“It seems you forgot…my carving in the mountain…Life isn’t right if I can’t be with you.” Right there, my life turns real again. I turn around, pull out the arrows with a wince and walk over to Teresa. We exchange a hug full of blood, tears, dirt, and leaves but it doesn’t matter. Our love has been rekindled. The spark has made the flame come back to life. The hug turns into a snuggle, and then a caress. The necklace pushes into both of our chests and I take it out with another wince. Slowly, I slide it onto her ring finger, just like I did the first time. A perfect fit. She smiles.

“So, we’re married again? I hope this doesn’t end with me shooting you again.” A smile appears on my face too.

“Yeah. Let’s avoid that.” We get up and walk back to our spawn point, watching the sun set in the west and the moon rise in the east. It’s beautiful, but not as much as Teresa. The darkness is no longer something hostile. Our love will light the way.

End
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PostSubject: Afflicted Passion   Sun Mar 27, 2011 5:57 pm

Afflicted Passion


Prologue

As I walk down the streets, my mind was races with thoughts. It has been years since Teresa and I married for that second time. I curse at Rachel under my breath. She was a seductress. Now, she’s back somewhere near her spawn point with Joseph. Teresa took care of that after I moved into the woods. For Rachel, revenge. For Joseph, pity.

I shake my head to try to focus on the thing at hand. Alright, you’ve moved into a village with Teresa now. Get the job. For her.

I continue walking and take the turn at the right place. The wooden building stretches upwards into the sky. A bit slowly, I trudge in. A few minutes later, I have the job. Border patrol. Some more minutes later, and I walk out the building to start home and tell Teresa the good news.

Chapter 1

“Hey, Mark! Ready for today?” Klercmon calls over. I call back with an affirmative.

“Of course! Let’s go!” We start walking around the borders. A few creepers remain, dawdling around in the sunlight. Klercmon keeps them at bay with his sword, I take them out with my arrows. A few hours pass with the usual, some creepers, a few spiders, but then it changes. A messenger runs up to me, panting, and he’s only able to spit out a few words.

“Your wife. House. Now…Go.” Those words are enough to chill all of my bones. I shout to Klercmon before taking off.

“Klerc! You can take care of the rest of the day, right?!” Right before I’m out of earshot, he responds.

“Sure! You’d better take care of Teresa! Give her my...er…support!” I throw one last comment before entering into the town itself.

“Thanks!” My smile slips and a frown takes its place. Teresa…What’s happened? I run harder, with my remaining energy. When the house comes into view I almost slip in the mud. I burst into the house and Teresa sits curled up in a ball on the floor of the living room, a woman patting her arm and uttering soothing words.

Teresa looks up with her eyes and cheeks tainted with tears, both fresh and dried. The woman gives me a look before whispering to Teresa. She responds with a sort of “you can go” gesture. As the woman leaves, she brushes past me and I catch a whiff of hospital chemicals.

Teresa opens her mouth to speak but collapses into tears so I take her in my arms. With the utmost care, I carry her over to the sofa and place her down. She refuses to relax and keeps in her tense, curled up ball. I question her with a worried frown.

“Teresa? What’s wrong?” I brush the hair out of her face and curl it behind her ear. Hiccups start to accompany her sobs. I tenderly take her chin and make her face me. She diverts her eyes but I move to meet them. There is sadness and a sort of deadness in there. I do the only thing I can do now. I give her a tight hug and a kiss.

“It’s okay. Tell me. We’ll get through it together.” Teresa gives a few more sniffles before looking out the window.

“Mark…Do you love me?” I almost take a step back in surprise but catch myself halfway through. I respond, racking my brain for something to reassure her.

“Of course, Teresa. With all my heart.” She looks at me for a silent moment before turning back again.

“Your heart? Is that it? Will you devote your mind and body too?” I give off a pained whine.

“Why do you even need to ask? Of course. All that is mine is yours.” She sighs and I can’t figure out what it’s from. Disappointment? Sadness? Despair? Aching? Teresa stares out the window and leaves me standing there for what seems like hours. Finally, without turning around, she speaks.

“I ask…because…I want to know if you will take care of our child.” The words drift aimlessly in the room before slamming down on me. Yet somehow, I can only feel disbelief.

“Our…child? You’re…pregnant. But…” My knees buckle as I realize when this happened. A couple of months ago…when our emotions were running high…we had gone through near-death experiences and intense arguments. Our hormones, all of them, were open, full valve. And…it just happened.

And now it’s come back to snap at us. I quickly compose myself and give Teresa a hug while whispering into her ear.

“It’s okay. I’ll take care of both of you.” I pat her belly, feeling that it could be mistaken for a big lunch. I continue to whisper into her ear, confidence growing to hide my anxiety. Am I ready for a child? No…I’m not. But I’ll do all I can. For Teresa.

She hugs me back and we exchange a passionate kiss. After all…We’ll overcome this together. As always.

Or so I thought.

Chapter 2

There’s vomit everywhere, spilling onto the floor, splattering onto the walls. Blood smears across the ceiling, and yet it drizzles down like rain. Teresa is in the middle of it all, clutching her head between her knees. More blood starts to come out, from absolutely everywhere. From her, the house, the floor, everywhere. Everywhere. Oh god. I yell out to her and try to get through.

“Teresa!” She looks up, still clutching her head tightly. Some blood trickles from her eyes, sliding down to join the rest on the floor and her clothes. Her eyes fix onto mine and they change into a baby that claws at my neck, biting at my flesh, spilling more blood everywhere. My vision rests on a rose before fading to black.

And it’s back again, showing me the bedroom. Sweat almost pours down my face, soaking the pillow. The air chills my body. I look over to my right. Teresa sleeps soundly. I sigh in relief.

Too weird a nightmare. How I yearn to wake Teresa…But she needs rest. I can deal with this myself. That dream…I need to express it somehow. Perhaps that’s my greatest fear. Losing Teresa somehow? Death caused by childbirth? Without respawn? This world isn’t exactly advanced as the world we first came from…Earth. Why were we placed here in this world?

I get out of bed, cautious to not disturb Teresa. Slowly, I tiptoe out and step out the house, letting the night air cool me while I collect my thoughts. Two months have passed. So far, there are no problems. If I can recall correctly, we have passed three months out of the nine total. Biology lessons from years ago come back to me. Meiosis and the chromosomes. I begin to wonder…

What will the baby look like? I hope he or she inherits Teresa’s eyes. But most of all, I hope our child finds love as well.

I look up into the night and stars, another highlight of this world, to make a wish.

I have never been a religious person. I’ve always thought myself of an agnostic belief. So now, to whomever that governs this world from wherever…Let our child find love that exceeds our own.

I look back down and walk inside to sleep, my heart at rest once again.

A star twinkles.

Chapter 3

The dish smashes onto the floor and Teresa curls up, clutching at her stomach. The baby is kicking again.
I rush over and try to reassure her. It’s to no avail. I watch in agony as she slowly comes back, slowly getting over the pain. I start to pick up the broken shards of the plate but am roughly shoved away. Teresa glares at me through disheveled hair.

“I’m fine! I can do it myself!” I’m treated to another shove. W-w-what? Why this attitude? Why the hate? Just yesterday… Perhaps it’s this entire situation, topped with this event that throws me off the edge. Almost as if I were a little boy again, tears begin streaming from my eyes. Teresa notices and her expression softens. I don’t want to hear anything though and run out the kitchen. Her voice grasps onto me as I exit the house itself, perhaps with remorse. Regret. A pang of guilt stabs through my heart. Or is it sadness?

I don’t know. I just run, letting my tears drip and splash into the dirt behind me.

I can’t take this. I can’t.

After time that seems meaningless to me, I stop and rest on top of a hill. I look back. The town lights just barely shine through the night. With a sluggish attitude, I sit down and stare at the sky. I give the surroundings a careless glance before staring into the heavens. I’ll hear if anything comes anyway.

Once again, I confront the stars with my problems, just like a month ago, after the nightmare. One moment I’m looking through the dark sky, the next I’m back in my childhood, being beaten once again by the bully, Kevin. I thought he was my friend. How wrong. I see the bruises from my own, younger eyes. I relive the dying of my heart.

The scene changes again, spontaneously. I’m punching Nathan in the chest, taking out my stress, anger, and sadness on him. I feel every vibration ripple through my arm. It only makes me hit him harder. I don’t know why. I should stop. But I don’t. I can’t. Another piece of my heart dies.

Again, the scene changes. I’m sitting in front of my computer, playing a game long forgotten. My parents are yelling in the background but I take no notice. My past self didn’t notice what happens next. Now, already expecting it, I do. My heart cracks. It’s so near the point of breaking. Tittering on the final cliff. The final fall.

The scene fades this time, leaving me with a final room of pitch darkness. My fear of the dark kicks in. Monsters from my greatest fear pour out. Slowly approaching. Taking their time. Enjoying my fear as I curl up and cry in the corner. My mind starts to unravel.

Who am I? What purpose does my life serve?

Nobody. Nothing.

Voices from all parts of my life echo in my head. A melancholy one from my pre-teen years talks of suicide yet having no guts to carry it out. From my early teen years, an angry voice shouts about the infuriating aspects of people everywhere. One from before both of them laughs happily and the sound of a rubber ball hitting cement joins the echoes.

I become lost in the jumble.

Chapter 4

My eyes open to the dark night. At first, I think a change in the weather is the reason for my wake. Then I hear it.

No matter how quiet it is, I will always notice. The sound of rustling leaves.

I leap to my feet and unconsciously reach for a bow that isn’t with me. The creeper closes in and forces me to take hurried jumps backward. The puzzle pieces fall together as I trip and fall on my back. I scream in my head, GET UP, GET UP!

There’s no response. It’s given up in this state of depression. The frowning face finishes its approach, its hunt. I hear the sound of crunching leaves before the hissing starts.

I close my eyes and wait.

The hissing stops. I open my eyes. Nothing has changed. I’m still on the hill. But…there’s no creeper. In fact, I realize that it’s day. I utter my surprise to the empty surroundings.

“W-w-what the heck?” I stutter for the first time in years.

Could it have been…just a nightmare? Something tugs at my mind though. In fact, something’s messing with my vision as well. Everything is blurry. I try and focus but when everything turns clear, nothing seems correct. The trees are blue. The grass is yellow. Flowers are green and the sky is red. Something touches my shoulder and I jump. It’s a hand.

Teresa?

Instead, I find a red-haired woman with a grin on her face and a see-through nightgown on her body. I get up and back away, perhaps blushing, perhaps frightened by her exposure and proximity. I won’t forget ever forget Rachel or what she did. The woman’s grin only grows.

“What’s the matter Mark? You seemed quite keen to sleep with me last night? Why the change?” She seductively crawls closer. I take a step back, trying to keep Teresa in mind. I refuse for this to end up like Rachel, but my body betrays me once again.

What’s going on?! Last night? I was alone…wasn’t I? The woman speaks again, only furthering my confusion.

“Oh, I know what you want. You want a different girl for today’s morning. Rachel, perhaps?” She looks right at my crotch and licks her lips before speaking again.

“I’ll get her…just let me stay a bit longer.” I take another step back, a look of horror on my face.

This can’t be true. It can’t be true. No. No no. Nonononononono. Where’s Teresa? Where?! Rachel?! I can’t let this happen again, I can’t. The word slips out my mouth unconsciously.

“Teresa.” The woman finally starts to suspect something past her lust. With squinted eyes, she cautiously asks me a question.

“What about her? Do…do you want to go back to where she lies?” My mind is racing. Where she lies…A tombstone flashes before my eyes. Somehow, I see the carved words that stab my heart.

Teresa Age 16(?) Husband: Unknown

That isn’t even the icing on the cake though.

Her death brought little sorrow to the village. Nobody knew her. But we will still honor her death.

And then, the final piece. The final ingredient.

Cause of death: Suicide. Hanged. Also took several months pregnancy with her.

At first, I am in denial. There’s respawn right? But I know. She’s gone. Cold and dead in the ground.

Suddenly, without any warning, a pair of hands sneak from behind me and caress my chest. Hair falls upon my shoulder as her breasts press into my back. Black hair. Brown eyes. Her voice.

“So, ready for another round with Rae?”

It’s Rachel.

Chapter 5

The jigsaw puzzle falls together and I understand. In this world, I ran off with Rachel after impregnating Teresa. I had listened to her instructions that she gave in the bedroom those years ago. I won’t believe it though. This has to be a nightmare. I keep grabbing onto that excuse. There can’t be alternate dimensions. I can’t truly be here. Impossible.

It’s a nightmare. It’s a nightmare. Run away. Her voice breaks my train of thought.

“So, I guess you want me to do everything his time, huh?” Her hands move in separate directions, one to my stomach, the other to my face. Once again, I’m frozen in shock. I remember the words clearly from years ago.

“Now…just lay back and let me do everything. I’m hungry for experience. I NEED to devour life. Just relax and I’ll handle the rest.” Somehow this connection breaks through the barrier of my shock.

No! Not this time! I roar, surprising even myself and throw Rachel off. She falls to the ground with a shocked expression on her face. The expression is on her face this time. I’m filled with anger. I want to go back. I understand Teresa now. I understand why she’s so much better than this…this…this whore in front of me. My voice is quieter now, but still filled with intensity.

“You whore. You slut.” Saying the words relieves so much. I want to smash her face in, snap her back, break her neck. But I don’t. I refrain, knowing that clear thoughts are needed right now. Slowly and quietly, I calm myself and breathe slowly. I could do so many things to Rachel right now. For so many reasons. Mainly revenge.

I do none of them though. I see the right path, the one that I should have taken long ago. I walk away. Let her give her body to every man she meets. Let her go down in her own spiral of catastrophe. I will find out how to go back to my world. But first, I need to give something in this world. The sun is setting when I arrive at my destination. Moss had already invaded the rock. Teresa’s tombstone casts an eerie shadow across the ground, somehow different than the other ones. I sit down in front of it and pour my heart out.

“I do not truly know you, Teresa…of this world. No, I’ll just call you Teresa. It’s the right thing. Anyway, while I do not know you in reality, I may as well know from the Teresa that I…left? I suppose I may have. What I truly came here to say is…I’m sorry. I’m sorry that my counterpart in this world was…is unfaithful. Perhaps I am speaking to a simple rock with carvings on it. Perhaps you are truly listening. I can’t bring you back, but I can at least tell you of my experiences with…my Teresa. My…Flight, as I used to nickname her. So, if you are here, please listen. In no way can it repay what it has done, but I can only hope it makes something better.”

I go on and tell the last rays of the sunlight what happened in my world. About how I struggled to beg Teresa for understanding. How we were both broken and how we came back together. I do not speak of what happened to bring her pregnancy into existence, but instead, what came after. Soon enough, I have to pardon myself and bring a torch back to continue the story. I begin to approach the ending and what brought me here.

“We laughed, we cried and we loved. And I was a stupid selfish person and ran away…So, that’s what happened in my world. Perhaps it helped. If it didn’t, I apologize.” I don’t mention her spirit not existing or listening. I can’t bring myself to believe that anymore. Slowly, I find my way out of the graveyard and dig myself a small room into the nearby mountain. I only need room for one…

Slowly, I fall asleep.

Chapter 6

I have come to fear my dreams, but this one seems different. I see Teresa stumbling out the village with her hand outstretched, chasing something. With slow realization, I understand that something is me. She collapses and cries. People begin to gather around and they get Teresa back into our house.

I watch as days pass and she cries and cries. Then one day, she goes to our stock of string and…No! She’s making a rope! A noose! I cry out in my dream but it’s to no avail. No! Don’t do it, Teresa! But it has no effect. As she steps off the chair, I hear her neck snap and I wake up, sweating and fearful. Please tell me that wasn’t real. I’ll accept this world being real, but that has to be a nightmare. Please.

Hurriedly, I break through the dirt I put for a door and run over to Teresa’s grave once again.
“I had a nightmare, a dream, a premonition, a something! Teresa, the one in my world hanged herself. I need to get back. Help me. Please.” I start crying and the tears drip down the tombstone. It starts to change. Grey stone turns to black rock and suspended purple liquid. A large tendril rushes out of it and grabs me by the waist. It pulls me in and my mind is thrown into a jumble. I see an angel with silver earrings, brown hair, and yellow eyes. She disappears right after reach out to her.

Thank you…Teresa.

Movement stops and I get my mind back together. There are four by five frames of all sorts of unknown material. I look at each one in turn. I see one where Teresa sits with me, both of us old but still happy. I look into the next one and see the very opposite. We are…perhaps seven years old and having a childish argument.

So these worlds do not all follow the timeline of mine. Only some do.

I keep checking the portals and see various stages of harmony or chaos. I reach the second last one. In there, I see three children running around. Teresa walks into the scene with even more beauty at this age of…thirty-something? I walk into the picture and give her a hug. This world is…paradise? I grab onto the frame, hypnotized, about to take the first step in when…

I hear crying. I hear sobbing. I hear all sorts of sadness and I know who they belong to. I walk over to the final and last frame. Teresa is walking over to a chest. She opens it and I see- String! She’s making the noose! It hasn’t happened yet! I grab onto the frame, give one last look at the previous world, that paradise, before jumping back into my world.

Chapter 7

And I’m back on the hill! I immediately break into a sprint, putting all my energy into this task. Landscape blows past me and I begin to see signs of civilization. Signs of nearing the village.

My lungs are burning. I was never a runner. But that doesn’t matter. I promised Teresa I’d take care of her and our child. I already failed so I have to make it up. I’ll prove that I’d give everything to her. The village comes into sight but an old health problem from my childhood decides to resurface at this crucial point. I go blind for a few seconds. I can just imagine what this delay is doing. Even before I can see completely, I take off as soon as the bare frame of vision comes back.

I burst into our house, panicking, sweating, fearing.

“Teresa!” I call out. If she hesitates, it might mean everything. I hear reply, as faint as it is.

“Mark?” Somehow, I know where she is. My dream wasn’t clear. I run up the stairs and toward the storage room. A thought runs though my head that should have been there earlier. Better late then never. I call back to her.

“Here!” Teresa walks out the room uncertainly and I slide to a stop before tightly wrapping my arms around her. I’m afraid she might disappear right through my fingers. I whisper into her ear, hurrying the words, fearing rejection and hate.

“I’m sorry. I’m sorry for not understanding, I’m sorry for running away, I’m sorry for not giving it my all, I’m sorry.” Yet even while I’m saying this, she’s apologizing into my ear.

“I think I understand now, Mark. I’m sorry that I didn’t tell you. I just don’t want to feel useless and helpless. I apologize.” And somehow, both of us hear each other. I loosen my grip and we stare into each other’s face. I’ve never truly appreciated her beauty. Especially on the inside.

We don’t laugh at our apologies mixing together. Instead, we kiss. It’s short, but full of love. We kiss again, keeping at it for longer. Teresa’s feet wobble beneath her so we slowly move to sitting down on the floor, curled up against the other. I murmur while our foreheads touch.

“I’m going to try my best and repay you. I think you’ll be a great mother.” She smiles and pecks me on the lips.

“And you’re going to be a great father.”

Epilogue

The baby is born without any unusual problems. I wince and rub my hand after Teresa lets it go, but my attention is on the baby. The doctor and nurse talk to us excitedly.

“It’s a boy! Oh, he has your eyes, Teresa. And I think your nose, Mark. Maybe your hair too.” They go on and we join in finding the similarities. The boy…my son tweaks Teresa’s nose and I laugh. He giggles at my expression. I confess something to Teresa.

“I’m glad we had a boy. Now, our other kids can have a big brother to protect them.” Teresa gasps in surprise and then teases me.

“Other kids?” The doctor and nurse interrupt our conversation with a ghost of a smile.

“Before you think about other kids, how about you name your son, first?” Teresa and I exchange looks of laughter and we think for a second. We know the right name and we tell the doctor in union.

“We’ll name him…Andre.”

End
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